If you have ever been out on a long walk, only to have your boots begin to rub miles from home, then you will know the value and importance of correctly fitted footwear. Our partners, Cotswold Outdoor, have put together a fantastic guide to ensure you’re feet are comfortable on your adventures.
Well-fitting walking boots aren’t just necessary to prevent painful blisters: they effectively support your feet and ankles to prevent fatigue and long-term injuries. Visit Cotswold Outdoor’s in-store experts for a free boot fitting to find the pair that fit you perfectly, or, if you already have a pair at home, use these simple steps to make sure they’re giving you the support you need.
1. Test the length of the boot
With the boot unlaced, gently tap your toe into the front of the boot and plant your foot flat on the ground. Insert your index finger down the back of the boot, along your Achilles. There should be enough room to snugly put your finger deep into the boot, without having to force it.
If your finger is tight along the back of your heel or squashed against the back of the boot, this is the first sign that the boot may be too short. Similarly, too much space may mean the boot is too long.
2. Plant the foot and lace the boot
The next step is to see how the boot feels once it's laced up. From a seated position, gently tap your heel into the back of the boot and plant your foot flat on an even surface. Then, beginning at the toes, start to tighten up the laces. Pressure should be even and firm, but not restrictive. Remaining seated, follow the laces all the way up the boot, hooking onto any eyelets and finishing off with a secure bow.
This process gives you a good idea of the amount of space your foot is occupying inside the boot. If the boot is too small, the laces will be bulging outwards; too big and excessive tension will be required.
3. Stand up
Standing up will allow you to check the overall fit of your boots. As you stand, you will notice the feel of the boot changes, because your body weight naturally elongates and expands your foot. If your toes are now touching the ends, you should consider a larger pair to make sure your boots stay comfortable on long walks for years to come.
4. Shift your weight
Shifting your weight around inside the boots lets you check the width and amount of internal support. Your feet should feel well supported and comfortably held in place on all sides as well as from above.
5. Use your hands
Use your hands to feel all around the boots, making sure you squeeze to find any points where the foot is bulging outwards, or where the boot feels baggy and empty. Ideally, you should feel that the foot is evenly filling the entirety of the boot. A little bit of variation here and there is ok, but excessive bulging or bagging is not.
6. Check the flex point
Depending on the mobility of your foot, your flex point is from the ball of your foot, into your toes. This area of the boot undergoes considerable and repeated strain, so it's really important to get it right. If the material is excessively creasing, your boots may be too big or wide. If the material is pinching, rubbing or putting pressure on your foot, your boots may be too narrow.
7. Get used to them
Wear your boots indoors to adjust to how they feel. Walk around, go up and down stairs, and generally just allow your feet to get used to the new sensation. Boots are much more supportive, and often heavier, than the majority of shoes, and this often means that even the most perfectly fitting boots feel uncomfortable at first.
Generally speaking, if you can walk around the house for an hour or two feeling supported, without any rubbing or pinching, then your boots are probably a good fit.
If you've gone through these steps and concluded that your boots don't fit properly, you can change them, as long as they are in a sellable condition, have not been worn outside and are within the agreed returns period. For more information, visit our returns page.
Different Ways To Lace Your Boots
There are many different ways to lace your boots and each will offer a different feel. We have outlined the two most common requirements and how to lace your boots accordingly below.
It's really important, however, not to attempt to solve a poorly-fitting pair of boots by changing the lacing. Instead, bring them to a store and one of our experts will be able to help you.
For greater ankle mobility
Lace the boots all the way to the top, but rather than tying a bow, loop back around the eyelets, heading back down the boot, hooking into the eyelets underneath. Pass the laces over themselves until they bite and then tie a firm bow.
For greater heel tension
Starting from the toes, lace the boot up as normal, but pass the laces over themselves just before the ankle section, inter-winding until they bite and hold. Usually, they need looping three times.
Pull firmly, applying supportive but not restrictive pressure through the flex point of the ankle, down into the furthest tip of your heel. This should comfortably fasten the heel into the shoe. Follow the eyelets and complete with a firm bow.
Come And See Us
Take a look at Cotswold Outdoor’s expert boot fitting service here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6zaZqeZadc
All of our in-store experts are trained to provide a free boot fitting service. This process involves a series of highly accurate measurements, coupled with a discussion about your footwear needs, any existing foot injuries you may have and the type of activity you will be doing. Your boot fitter will then talk you through our extensive footwear range and custom fitting solutions to find the perfect pair for your needs.
In partnership with Cotswold Outdoor.
Cotswold Outdoor staff are experienced hikers, climbers, runners, campers, travellers and more, all eager to share their knowledge and experience to help you make the most of the outdoors. Find out more and shop with them here: https://www.cotswoldoutdoor.com/